“Evil flourish where good wo/men do nothing” – a paraphrase of one of my favorite sayings. When I think of my district, FL 22 (teabagger extraordinaire Allen West’s district), for some reason, that’s the phrase that comes to mind. Imagine waking up one day to Rick Scott AND Allen West … welcome to FL 22.
As an aside, we currently have two Democratic candidates vying for West’s seat. I say currently, not because there will be a primary, but because we MAY have a division of boundary lines within the district, and our two candidates will no longer have to compete against each other, and may well be able to support each other in different races. Time will tell how that scenario plays out… (fingers crossed for best case scenario).
I realize I am preaching to the choir here when I say that we are living in a time when people have lost all faith and confidence in government (at all levels, not just inside the beltway). People are fed up with what they view as a very corrupt system, of watching the 99% slowly circle the toilet bowl while the government holds the flushing handle down while yelling that it’s our fault for being in the toilet in the first place, and watching old guard politicians - who are completely disconnected from their constituents and the very real, daily problems we collectively face – tell us that we’re actually to blame for the mess we’re in. We are all looking for someone new, refreshing, dynamic, and a true progressive. Someone who truly wants to BE the change…
A few things I should tell you while introducing Patrick. I’m a long-time Kossack. I’m also a threat to the gene pool, the Constitution isn't for me, and I'm just not a good person, at least according to West. While it may seem like I’m making this up, those are actual quotes from the man purportedly representing me in my district, the tea party darling and generally misogynistic anti-Muslim right-wing demagoguing extremist, Allen West.
About Patrick – while I invite you to visit his website to learn more about him, I’ll give you a brief overview of this very qualified and refreshing candidate’s creds…
First, Patrick is from Florida – born in the beautiful Florida Keys and raised in South Florida. While going to college, he spent much of his time as a day laborer on construction sites. He earned dual Bachelor’s Degrees from the University of Miami (CANES!) in accounting and finance.
After graduating, Patrick joined Deloitte & Touche, where he served as an external auditor of Fortune 500 companies. He is also co-chair of Coastal Cares, which guides the firm's projects for and large contributions to local and regional charities, such as the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County, United Way, Camillus House, and Education Fund/Teach-A-Thon.
Patrick currently serves as Vice President of Coastal Environmental Services, which specializes in disaster relief and environmental cleanup. Last year, Patrick spent 6 months in the Gulf of Mexico leading the company’s efforts to remove oil spilled during the BP disaster. Coastal Environmental is an affiliate of Coastal Construction, one of the leading construction firms in the country which has been named one of the nation’s top “Green Contractors." And, he’s young … 29. So he’s also very ambitious and very driven.
On the issues, Patrick is truly dedicated to progressive values – equal rights for ALL (he’s a strong supporter of gay rights and their right to marry), of a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body and reproductive choices, and protecting Social Security and Medicare. He’s a staunch advocate for energy independence and green technologies. He wrote a diary recently regarding his opposition to the NDAA. He strongly believes in protecting Israel and its right to peacefully exist. And in the need to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our remaining troops home. I could go on, but Patrick’s website does a far better job of conveying Patrick’s stand on the issues than I’m doing here.
Patrick’s communication’s director, Brian Franklin, is an experienced campaigner, having worked with Ron Klein, Robert Wexler, Ted Deutch and Alan Grayson (another crushing loss). I spoke to him at length about Patrick and he said what struck him about Patrick is his honesty – just a real down-to-earth, straight shooter. Very progressive, intelligent and knowledgeable. Brian described him as tireless, motivated and relentless. That he’s a good speaker, an even better listener, and should do extremely well against Allen West in the general election.
I had the opportunity to speak to Patrick myself, and I can tell you that Brian was right. Very unassuming – very knowledgeable, well spoken, and easy going. He wasn’t campaigning to me or trying to sell me – he was just talking, telling me about himself and why he’s running. This isn’t personal for him – he truly wants to BE the change. He wants to right what he sees as so many wrongs, to better our community and our country. He fears for the future and doesn’t want to just sit around and complain about it. He wants to work to change it, to solve problems, to fix what’s broken.
He told me he’s gotten some calls from some folks in this district who supported and voted for Allen West, and are registered Republicans, but who now realize the error of those votes and are throwing their support behind Patrick. And Brian shared that, although Patrick’s family are Republicans, they supported Alex Sink (v. Rick Scott). So there’s lots of discontent within the GOP here locally, and I think Patrick will be a candidate that appeals to many disillusioned Republicans, particularly moderates, as well as Independents who look at Allen West and simply shake their heads, wondering WTF.
I asked Patrick for a parting thought before we ended our conversation, to sort of sum up his reasons for running for FL 22 – he said that he feels our country is at a tipping point, that it really has become the 99% v the 1%, and that he’s ready and willing to work hard and put his ass on the line (that’s a direct quote). He impressed me, and I hope he impresses you. If he does, throw a few bucks his way.
Credo and Kos are starting a campaign (many of you likely got the email) about taking on the Tea Party Ten – I don’t know if the list has been finalized yet, but there’s a strong possibility that Allen West will be on that list.